Pull Up a Booth

This gorgeous Six-Horse Hitch is owned by Creekside Belgians out of Manitoba

Some of you live in the country, like I do, and have the wonderful experience that is your local County Fair. Some are lucky enough to experience the State Fair, as well. For those of you who are not familiar (“city folk”… :D), let me enlighten you about the wonder that IS the County Fair… By and large, it is a celebration of hard work. Hard work done by kids of all ages, who participate in 4H, a program which allows kids to learn damn near anything they have an interest in, but focuses heavily on “rural stuff” – Sue can tell us SO much more about it, as she’s intimately involved, but I see, as a former City Girl, such a wonderful opportunity for kids to learn about animals. Intimately. I would have killed, as a kid, for that kind of opportunity.

The County Fair, and then the State Fair, pulls together the best of the community – the best food, the best crafts, the best animals, and the best people, doing what they love most. Even if our own County Fair is in a bit of a state of flux, I still love to go and wander the barns. This week, I had the honor of being completely sunburned while I watched a friend’s daughter compete in the 4H Horse Show. She did AMAZINGLY well, walking away with several championships, and may have qualified for State.

At state, my favorite thing, ever, is watching the Draft Horse Driving – see that picture up there? Yeah, people line the streets at 6 PM on one of the nights of the IA State Fair to watch them come in. The ground literally shakes beneath your feet as those horses dance up the road. One hitch after another they come, and it is absolutely breathtaking.

So. Have you been to YOUR County or State Fair? What’s your favorite part? If not, why not? And what was your weekend like?

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15 Responses to Pull Up a Booth

  1. SKL says:

    In my current county, the fair is kinda wimpy, so we don’t bother with it. However, when I was 12, my parents moved to a rural county about 60 miles east, where they still live. Our small town was “the county seat” and it had the courthouse and also the county fairgrounds, within easy walking distance. So we got to experience that from the time I was 13.

    When I was young, this was really awesome to me. It is a rural, farming county so the fair was somewhat substantial. There are a dozen or more barns full of animals on the fairgrounds. Then there are several large exhibit buildings for flowers, baked goods, quilts, the 4-H sewing and art projects, Girl Scouts, mechanical arts, etc. Rides, food vendors, games, the grandstand/racetrack and a smaller bandstand. Lots of exhibits of stuff like tractors. Horse races, demo derby, trailer pulls, the occasional circus-y act, and the staple country bands. And sometimes fireworks.

    As an older adult, honestly I haven’t been that thrilled with the fair lately. Not sure whether it’s getting dumber or I’m just not as easily impressed. Anyway, I will still trek down there once a year, so the kids don’t miss out. I should probably put a little more energy into building the enthusiasm.

    I love the idea of 4-H. I didn’t have the opportunity to participate myself, but I kinda wish my kids could at some point. Of all the things kids can compete in, it’s nice to have some that are actually substantive beyond “I’m better than you.” But on the other hand, I have no intention of owning an animal any time soon, and our yard isn’t conducive to growing much other than baby carrots (even if we didn’t have deer eating everything). Maybe they could do it for sewing or art or something. They are still on the young side, but it’s something to think about.

    • Joy says:

      4-H involves many things SKL and you don’t need a garden or an animal. There are crafts and all kinds of things the kids can do. Sewing is big too and everyone should know how to sew. Photography. Last year Trin made a really nice purse/bag that she still uses. This year she made a cute top. It’s not all about “farming.” It’s such a great organization. Trin loves it but it’s hard to say if Christopher will or not. He’s somewhat shyer in a group than Trin is. Is there a 4-H group available for you? I know before we moved out here there wasn’t one near us or I would have had my kids in it. Summers just get so long and some of those projects help fill the time.

      • SKL says:

        I don’t know if they have 4-H in my county or not. There is some farmland out here, but not a lot.

        I could see Miss E doing sewing and either of my kids wanting to try photography. (That reminds me of about a week ago, when Miss E took a photo of Miss A on her DS camera. She figured out some way to distort the photo until it looked all freaky. She was cracking herself up like anything. I just love to hear kids cracking themselves up.)

        • SKL says:

          So I looked it up and it seems we do have 4-H in our county, but it isn’t clear how to get involved. For my kids, they would only be eligible for the “cloverleaf” part until they are 8 years old. Does anyone know anything about that program? What kind of time commitment are we talking about? Is it only summer or year-round? How old were your kids when they started?

          I think that it may be heavy on “urban youth” around here, which may be a mixed blessing. (I guess technically we are urban, but you know what I mean.) Anyhoo, I think I am interested enough to look further into this. They seem to have some good stuff for kids age 8 and up.

          • Sue says:

            4-H is whatever you make it and that’s what I loved and still love about it! For us, kids can join 4-H when they are in kindergarten and are considered “cloverbud” members until 3rd grade. At that point they become ‘regular’ members who compete at the county fair for a placing ribbon (blue, red, white, and then grand champion/reserve grand champion) As a cloverbud, the emphasis is on participation, learning something new, and having FUN!!!! Fun should be the key to littler kids so that way they’ll want to continue!

            The website you found with the 4-H info in your area should give you some sort of contact person for your county. Our program is run through the University of MN Extension Service and they hire someone to be the head of 4-H in each county. Within each county are the 4-H clubs. In MN, you can join whatever 4-H club you want. (It use to be you had to go to a club within the county you lived in. Not sure when they changed it and if it’s still that way in some places) Clubs usually meet 1 time per month all year and the meetings are run by the members with adults there to act as guides, but the club is really for the kids. Clubs meet on whatever day of the week is best for them at whatever time, but your extension office should have that information. Clubs also do a lot for the community and help teach kids how a community works. I was a 4-Her and now am a leader for our club, and I really do feel like it’s the best organization for youth b/c there are so many opportunities. The lessons you learn for leadership, showmanship, communication and hard work really do stay with you for life.

            If I were you, I would check out your county fair and walk through the 4-H building to see all the different projects. It’s not just farm animals and crops anymore. Anything and everything you want to do you can. There should be 4-H members (County Ambassadors) milling around the barn to answer any questions you might have and they’d be able to get you in touch with the county extension agent.

            I know that’s a lot of info, but I hope it helps. Like I said, I’m a huge believer of 4-H and it really does teach great life lessons!

      • Joy says:

        I’m not sure if Sue will come on and see this or not but from what I know the Cloverleafs are just in the learning part and they get a participation ribbon for whatever they do. I believe Sue and Trin go once a month. It’s not huge commitment. I think Trin’s first year she did planned a healthy meal and made a diagram of it on posterboard and planted flowers in a pot.

        HELP SUE!!!!

  2. SKL says:

    My weekend was pretty much all work (and fighting on the internet, hee hee). I didn’t go out anywhere other than church. Sometimes it’s nice to just catch my breath. The girls came up yesterday at the tail end of my workday, and asked me to show them a picture (on the internet) of a blind person. They wanted to know what blind eyes look like. This led to my showing them a youtube of Helen Keller speaking, and they noticed that Youtube also had a the movie The Miracle Worker. So they asked to watch that and we did. The old black-and-white Patty Duke version. It was good (I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it before). I only wish there was a Helen Keller movie that didn’t end just when she figured out what “water” meant. That really was the beginning of her life story in my opinion. Since Miss E is named after her, I would have liked to show her why I find her inspiring.

    Today after church, I had my sister take the kids to the IMAX and then to a little festival. They came home early since it was so hot outside, but at least they got to do a few fun things. Meanwhile I was taking a nap! I did get some work done, though, which I’d better get back to now.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  3. Joy says:

    I do love our county fair. It’s small and quaint but I LOVE going. I like walking through the barns a lot and I do like to watch the judges judging the kids on their 4-H animals. It’s interesting. I do like going through the flower buildings and the things people enter that they’ve worked on all summer. Of course you can’t forget about the food!! I have to have the french fries. I do love the big taco’s too. I really do like our small town one because I like seeing it all in a few hours or I get bored. So, we’ll see. Ours is next week and I’m pretty sure we’ll go unless it’s tropical out.

    I’m planning on working on my scrap books this week. I need to organize one more time before I’m knee deep. It’s such a big mess but I’m now to the point of cutting and gluing and I need more room! LOL! All the new books have arrived and I printed out a bunch of pics of Christopher so it’s time to get going. I’ve changed my mind on his front page 3 darn times now and am going to change it one more time but today the glue comes out!!! LOL

    Have a good week all.

    BTW, I’ve seen those Creekside Belgians in person and they’re just magnificent. You can’t imagine the enormity of them. I can’t even say how beautiful they are.

    • Laura says:

      Oh, now I’m jealous! I just love draft horses! My favorites are Freisians, which, I suppose, it could be debated that they’re *not* drafts but rather a ‘working breed’, they’re kind of on the line. But all of them are just so beautiful, there’s a reason they’re called “gentle giants”.

  4. Laura says:

    Sorry I wasn’t around last night. I got buried in a book and didn’t come up for air until it was done… at 2 AM!!! (it was Sandra Brown’s Lethal)

    We had planned to hit the Jones County Fair this weekend, but decided to forgo it since they have a ‘cover charge’ of $10 per head, just to walk in. Then you have to pay for rides, food, etc., so Steve didn’t want to go. I kind of agreed, but mostly for personal reasons. There are still a few county fairs happening around us, so we might still make it to one of them this season.

    I’ve applied to a few more jobs, since it seems that the one I was going for has fallen through. I’m not overly disappointed about that one, I was getting an inkling when the process hit the 2-month mark…

    My week is going to be ramping up. We’ve got a big-deal start of the Scout Year coming up, and I”m not quite prepared for it yet. I need a new Bear Leader (that’s Josh’s den), since that leader dropped the week before Camp. Because I want the new leader to get off on a good foot, I’m putting together a “lesson plan” of sorts with all the meetings at least kind of outlined, so there isn’t a TON of work to do. I think that’s probably the most intimidating part of taking on the leadership position – you’re dropped in and expected to run with it with very little training. (I’m working on that within my council, too… to get training back to human contact and off the internet)

    So there’s that, plus we have a Pool Party on the third (it’s almost August already! that means Fall is almost here!! Now if we can just get some rain and break this effing drought…), Recruiting Night on Sept 6, and then we’re into the full swing of things with Football Field Cleanups and Popcorn Sales (sidenote… anyone interested in buying popcorn? It’s wicked good stuff, and I’ll ship to ya)

    So it’s gonna be a busy week. Fingers crossed that one of the reasons is interviews and a job offer…

    • SKL says:

      Good luck! Usually when you’re about to get hired, you have two or three jobs all fighting for you. No idea why it seems to work out that way. I hope that happens for you soon!

  5. Nikki says:

    Generally, we don’t go to our county fair. It’s not in the town we live in, and we just don’t make the effort to go. I think in the 12 years Bailey’s been here we’ve gone once. It’s not that great. We do try to get to the State Fair every other year. I like going there. I love going through the barns, and seeing the farm animals, the babies especially. The food, of course. And the people watching is fantastic! 🙂 They have a large Bizarre I love going in. They have all sorts of stuff. Crafts, clothing, local foods. I almost always get a jar of jalapeno stuffed green olives. They are the BEST!

    Our weekend wasn’t exactly what I had planned. Bailey came down with an awful head cold. He’s still in bed. He did get out to watch Jason’s last game on Sunday, and they took 3rd, so that was good. But he’s still pretty congested and just doesn’t feel well.

    We went car shopping Saturday. I know most don’t like it, but I don’t mind it at all. We got all the number crunching and paperwork done Saturday. We know what we’re approved for now, and what we can afford. Which are on opposite ends on the spectrum! LOL We’ll go back in Friday and hopefully drive away with something.

    Have a good week, everyone!

    • Laura says:

      I like having a new car, I just hate the whole “negotiation” process. My first new car that I bought was a Saturn, and they didn’t do that. This was when Saturns were first coming out – like the first or second year of the brand – and they gave you the base price, and a list of add-ons and the price for each one. You ordered the car, and knew (including retailer profit, taxes, etc) how much you were going to pay. And they paid their salesmen a flat salary, no commissions. I really liked that. When Steve and I went to buy our truck, geez o’ pete!! It was HOURS while they dithered back and forth about how much this should cost and how THAT should be included, and this is what Kelly Blue Book says, and how the dealer shouldn’t make any profit… we finally had our new truck at nearly midnight, and Steve was so proud of himself because the dealer said that he was only making like $60 on the sale. It was a complete nightmare for me. I don’t have a problem with a dealer making a profit, and I’d rather just go in and say, “this car costs $10,000, that seems reasonable, I’ll buy it” or not.

      • Nikki says:

        This guy said he gets payed salary. We asked, because we knew he’d be with us for awhile Saturday and we were not going to buy that day. So when we come back in Friday, we’d ask for him so he could get the commission, since he was very nice even though he knew he wasn’t going to make a sale that day. He told us, it didn’t matter because he gets salary. But we’ll still go to him, because he knows our situation and what we can afford and we will not go over that amount. He wasn’t pushy, in fact he gave us great tips, and went over and beyond what he had to do to get us in the price range we needed to be. And we’re being very picky. We haven’t had a car loan in many years, and we have to make sure it’s right for us. It’s a smaller dealership, and we are not buying brand new. Nice to know that our credit is good enough to buy new though! LOL

        • Vicki says:

          Nikki, we looked at a new vehicle the other day too. The sales man we had we’ve had in the past, we got talking to him and he also said he got salary, only 1,200. a month. he then said he gets bonuses for the amount of cars he sells during the month, they like to sell atleast 8. so the more cars they sell the bigger the check is at months end..makes sense i guess. 🙂

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